Trading away Incentives
IWH Discussion Papers,
Equity pay has been the primary component of managerial compensation packages at US public firms since the early 1990s. Using a comprehensive sample of top executives from 1992-2020, we estimate to what extent they trade firm equity held in their portfolios to neutralize increments in ownership due to annual equity pay. Executives accommodate ownership increases linked to options awards. Conversely, increases in stock holdings linked to option exercises and restricted stock grants are largely neutralized through comparable sales of unrestricted shares. Variation in stock trading responses across executives hardly appears to respond to diversification motives. From a theoretical standpoint, these results challenge (i) the common, generally implicit assumption that managers cannot undo their incentive packages, (ii) the standard modeling practice of treating different equity pay items homogeneously, and (iii) the often taken for granted crucial role of diversification motives in managers’ portfolio choices.
Effectiveness and (In)Efficiencies of Compensation Regulation: Evidence from the EU Banker Bonus Cap
We investigate the (unintended) effects of bank executive compensation regulation. Capping the share of variable compensation spurred average turnover rates driven by CEOs at poorly performing banks. Other than that, banks‘ responses to raise fixed compensation sufficed to retain the vast majority of non-CEO executives and those at well performing banks. We fail to find evidence that banks with executives that are more affected by the bonus cap became less risky. In fact, numerous results indicate an increase of risk, even in its systemic dimension according to selected measures. The return component of bank performance appears to be unaffected by the bonus cap. Risk hikes are consistent with an insurance effect associated with raised the increase in fixed compensation of executives. The ability of the policy to enhance financial stability is therefore doubtful.
Do Managerial Risk-taking Incentives Influence Firms' Exchange Rate Exposure?
Journal of Corporate Finance,
There is scant evidence on how risk-taking incentives impact specific firm risks. This has implications for board oversight of managerial risk taking, firms' development of comparative advantage in taking particular risks, and compensation design. We examine this question for exchange rate risk. Using multiple identification strategies, we find that vega increases exchange rate exposure for purely domestic and globally engaged firms. Vega's impact increases with international operations, declines post-SOX, and is robust to firm-level governance. Our results suggest that evidence that exposure reduces firm value can be viewed, in part, as a wealth transfer from shareholders and debt-holders to managers.